Video: Paris 5/12/2019 Strike & Demonstration, Place de la République, 3.45pm

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Paris, December 5, 2019: Tense moments on the first day of the nationwide strike against the proposed changes of the pension system in France. We’re waiting on Place de la République for the demo to arrive. The demo started at Gare de l’Est (only about 15 minutes walk from République) and is supposed to head south to Nation. Boulevard de Magenta is already full of people, but somehow they’re not getting on to République. Instead objects are set on fire right at the junction of Magenta and République which gives the “forces of order” the pretext to throw teargas grenades into the crowd. Uncut footage from about 3.45pm at Place de la République.

The video is obviously just a snapshot, and what I like most is the audio track: A group of women singing the Internationale, fireworks and later tear gas grenades exploding, shreds of music, crowd noises and chants.

The crowd was quite diverse, from union members of the (traditional communist) CGT to the anarcho-syndicalists of the CNT, a paper seller from Lutte Ouvrière hurried through the crown, and of course there were some gilets jaunes, including a dickhead with a golden Anonymous/guy Fawkes mask and a flagpole with three national flags on it – the French, the Gwen-ha-du (Flag of Brittany) and the Palestinian. This offensive display neither seemed to find much support (he seemed to be on his own waving his flags), nor was he confronted as far as I could see.

At the time of posting the strike is continuing, in fact the demonstrations on December 17 was even bigger than on December 5. One reason for this might be that the architect of the pension “reform”, Jean-Paul Delevoye, had to step down from his government post after it was revealed that he had failed to report incomes of around 120.000 euro.

Below some still photos taken more or less immediately before the video.

Boulevard de Magenta is full of people waiting to march on…
Workers from the Paris Opera
Triple Nationalism (under the watchful eye of Öcalan)
Overall the mood on Republique was cheerful despite the cold
At least until the tensions at the joint of Magenta and République flared up

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